While standing there, counting those who passed through and those who were turned away, I met Snait Gissis, a member of Machsom Watch (Checkpoint Watch). Machsom Watch is an Israeli peace group consisting of Israeli women, who refuse to accept the policy of their country, and organize monitoring of checkpoints and gates from the Israeli side of the fence. Their experiences show that young, conscripted Israeli soldiers listens more readily to old Israeli women, who just as well could be their own grandmothers. (We, the EAs, stand at the Palestinian side.) Thus, the Machsom Watch does an import bit of work, telling off the soldiers when they abuse and beat the Palestinians passing through checkpoints.
Snait Gissis has been monitoring, among other places, the Tayba checkpoint since 2002, and tells how it has been there before. Today, it was a “more easy” day – no days are good, because of the very nature of the checkpoints, but some days are more easy than others. And today, it only took 1,5 hour for the few thousand Palestinians to pass through on their way to work. We stand there, chatting about our work and past experiences for some minutes, and as we count the last few Palestinians who pass through, and we say goodbye to each other, I remember – I only know this women through a fence. She stands on the Israeli side, I stand on the Palestinian side, and in between us is the border, represented by a heavy metal fence.